“My heart is with our village people, and as I think of their future I believe I see a magnificent vista lying ahead.” Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Mission For My Country (1960) In the twenty years leading up to Islamic Revolution, the landscape of Iran underwent significant change. This landscape—a reference to the physical terrain as well as a metaphor for the composition of society—had gradually emerged as a result of several thousand years of historical development and agricultural labor. In the span of two decades, however, it was to serve as the subject of a major land reform plan conceived by Mohammad Reza Shah, the second and last potentate of the Pahlavi dynasty. His plan, part of the aptly titled White Revolution, remains enigmatic and important within the larger context of Iranian political history.
[...] The book aims to justify the White Revolution and praise its successes. The justification section contains a great deal of propaganda and ideology; I use this rhetoric to understand the Shah's own rationales for revolution from the top. His character suffuses the entire work. Rahnema, Majid. The Concept of Development Majid Rahnema collection, box 1. Hoover Archives, Stanford. This collection contains the writings of Majid Rahnema during and after his post as Iranian ambassador to the United Nations. These include French and English newspaper articles, conference speeches, scholarly essays, and pedagogical material. [...]
[...] As the White Revolution progressed, so grew the growing need of the Shah to assert his government as an independent and sovereign entity, worthy of respect. Rather than join the ranks of the nations “kowtowing” either to the U.S. or the U.S.S.R. during the Cold War, the Shah much preferred the multilateralist United Nations.54 His ideas strongly identify Iran's responsibilities as weaning itself off foreign funds. Because he determined to show America and the world that Iran could make good use of aid,”55 the Shah wagered many of his political chips on land reform— and fixed the results as best he could. [...]
[...] For this research, a set of internal writings of the Anjuman-i-Sattar (Sattar League), a group affiliated with the Fourth International, held informative papers focusing on socialism, the national question, and Trotsky's Permanent Revolution. Though I cannot find any external sources about this group, it seems they did not ally strongly with the Tudeh party, and they exerted limited but pointed influence. “United States policy regarding land reforms in foreign areas.” United States Department of State Foreign relations of the United States Volume I (1979 [covers 1951]) pp 1666-1684. [...]
[...] internally did not give the White Revolution its support. Katouzian, Homa. The Agrarian Question in Iran. Rural Employment Research Programme. International Labour Office, Geneva: 1981. Katouzian focuses on oil money and political motivations behind the land reform to argue that though reform could have been carried out successfully, its ulterior agenda got the better of it. Thus his work complements my section about oil and prestice. Lambton, Ann K.S. The Persian Land Reform. Oxford University Press, London: 1969. This work was the first comprehensive look at the land reform and Lambton's perspective is thus limited but historically rich. [...]
[...] In The White Revolution, statements ascribing a general religiosity to the reforms are not infrequent.35 In certain cases, the justifications wax poetic, and in others they stop just short of textual re-interpretation. For example, to legitimize the nationalization of water resources, the text quotes Mohammad: of the teachings of the Prophet says: ‘Muslims share three things: water, fire, and pastures.'”36 As a form of political exegesis, citing Hadith in within a Ministry of Information publication at least superficially identified reform policies with Islam, but the Islamic clergy more than outdid this maneuvering. [...]
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